I’m sure our media gurus have all kinds of scintillating stats and colourful charts to prove this, but this blog actually has nothing more to back it up than my own meandering recent experiences.

I am (and I can only extrapolate to our society as whole is) suffering from attention deficit syndrome, and it’s getting worse with every passing day.

That’s why advertising, if it isn’t part of a single-minded engagement strategy, really can’t do it any more for me. I’m not talking about the usual commercial competitors for our attention—we’ve all seen the 2500 ad messages a day, yada, yada, yada, stats—those distractions have been the case for decades. No, I’m taking about something far more worrying, I’m talking about the rewiring of my brain. SMS, FB, Tweets, FaceTime, LinkedIn, Skype, Words with Friends, whatever the hell’s next—they all conspire to derail my train of thought, daily, hourly—actually four times since I started this paragraph. (Sad face.)

If the way we consume media hadn’t changed so drastically this wouldn’t matter so much. We’d all switch off our devices and concentrate on the real stuff. But it has permitted, even enabled, this kind of attention-deficit behaviour.

Back in the day (and really not that far back) if you wanted to watch a TV show, you damned well had to park your butt in front of the TV and concentrate! Not anymore, streaming (Netflix, Apple Store, YouTube, Hulu et al) has given us the ability to zip back with a twitch of a fingertip to recap what we missed. And skip forward past what we want to miss. And we’re happy to do it, because that content has our (albeit no longer undivided) attention. i.e. We find it engaging.

So, for brands, engagement has become harder, WAY harder. Not just because of all the tech, but because of how it has made our brains behave with content that doesn’t engage us—that seeks only to distract us.

So, for brands, engagement has become harder, WAY harder. Not just because of all the tech, but because of how it has made our brains behave with content that doesn’t engage us—that seeks only to distract us. The only winners to my (admittedly attention deficit) mind are those brands who set out with engagement as the first, and only, goal of everything they do.

In other words gentle reader, your brand has to be one of those things that absorb people. Can’t afford to be fluffy or shouty or cute baby and puppified any more. Now, more than ever, it needs to stand for something. And that something had better be relevant and, most importantly… wait, what was I saying?

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